I got up early Saturday morning to do something for my health, but I wound up getting all kinds of mental.
I clicked onto YouTube to watch a video on qigong, an ancient Chinese practice that aligns the body, breath, and mind through a series of simple, relaxing exercises. I find these routines to be a nice compliment to my lunatic gym workouts.
I was on tight schedule because I had to get to the gym for a cardio kickboxing class, get cleaned up, and meet with my sister for one of our theater outings with our auntie.
So I switched onto one of my favorite qigong videos and…nothing. There was a message about updating something, but I, in my diehard digital ignorance, couldn’t make any sense out of it.
Inching ever closer to the panic button, I Googled what I thought was Adobe’s home page and downloaded a ton of misery. My homepage was promptly hijacked by some outfit that offered to clean the living crap out of my computer—for a price, of course.
I freaked, forgetting all about balance, inner harmony, mindfulness, or anything else that could’ve helped me. When it comes to any computer-related issue my mind has a tendency to roll into a fetal position and shriek, “I don’t know nothin’ about fixing no computers!”
I did a qigong routine, but I was distracted and things got worse as I made my breakfast. I was angry about being unable to remove this unwanted program from my computer, annoyed that I had caused problem in the first place, and exceeding pissed that I didn’t have the time to fix it.
Thought, Word, And Deed
What if this thing is some kind of bug that’s going to get all my passwords and go hog wild with my bank account?
What’s worse is that I allowed my mind to go on yet another time travel rampage, dredging up unpleasant incidents from the past so I actually got even angrier than I already was.
I’ve said before that I’m an anger junkie and this latest incident is sad proof of that. Once again I was feeding the dark wolf.
I raced up to the gym, made my class in plenty of time, and zipped back to my house.
I had about 20 minutes before my sister came by so I calmly sat down in front of my computer, Googled up a link on how to uninstall a program, and dispatched the malicious malware in less than a minute. A third-grader could’ve done this.
If I judge myself by Western standards then I’ve failed in my attempt to remain calm under pressure—failed miserably, in fact.
But if I go a little deeper, recalling my mindfulness meditation class, then I accept the fact that there is no failure in this situation, no punishment, no shame. I just get back on my bicycle and continue down the road.
I’ve got nearly 60 years worth of malware in my brain that sorely needs to be uninstalled, but it won’t be anywhere near as easy as cleaning out the computer. It takes a conscious effort to reject old thought patterns and look at problem-solving in a new way.
I find I’m more successful when I take a more casual approach to my troubles. This happened recently in my boxing class, when I allowed stray thoughts to distract me when I should’ve been pounding on the heavy bag.
Instead of getting angry, I just gently asked myself, “what if all you had to do this world right now was hit this bag?”
And it worked. I cleared my mind, took a deep breath, whaled on that heavy bag like it owed me money.
It’s a strange little trick, but it’s beats getting all kinds of mental.